BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — Normally, this time of the year, Mark Hebert is gearing up for a few busy weeks on the job, but when he arrived to work at Mike Anderson's this morning, he knew his work would have to be put on hold.
"The banquet room is gone. [The fire] burned all that up," he says.
Around 1:30 Tuesday morning, the famous seafood restaurant caught fire. Investigators think it might have been started by an arsonist.
Nearly a dozen fire trucks were on the scene shortly after the blaze started. They know it began in the banquet hall of the restaurant on Lee Drive, completely gutting that room and spreading into the attic before it could be brought under control.
"My first reaction was do I have a job? Cause I love my job," Hebert says. "It's around Christmas. It's a bad time for this to happen."
The restaurant's newly renovated banquet hall went up in flames, and took a big chunk of business with it.
"We're booked with parties for the next two weeks and with the economy the way it is, it's just the wrong time," owner Mike Anderson says.
Now, he says, all those holiday parties will have to be moved, either to his other location in Gonzales or to a different restaurant entirely.
"It's very frustrating," he says. "It's kind of hard to believe that it happens especially around this time of the year."
Anderson wasted no time in getting the clean-up started. Crews were out at the restaurant just hours after the fire.
"We'll be able to start serving in the dining room, hopefully as soon as possible," he says.
He'll have plenty of help. His employees say, they'll still be out at the restaurant working every day.
"I'm not going to sit at home. I'm going to help them out. I'm going to go help them out. It's like family to me here. You know, I really love this place," Hebert says.
He's doing his part to get the restaurant back in shape for the busy season.
"I hope it's soon," he says. "I'm ready to get back to cooking."
All of the employees will continue to get paid with insurance money while the restaurant is out of commission. Anderson says he's hoping part of the restaurant can be re-opened in about two weeks.